Grandparents Bruce and Bev Bodio are on a mission to help expectant mums deal with difficult pregnancies.
The couple, who live in Stockwood Road, Devizes, were so inspired by an invention which helped their daughter-in-law Carrie, that they’ve turned her story into a business venture.
Carrie, 43, gave birth last year to her daughter Evie after going through a pregnancy which almost crippled her. She said: “When I had my older daughter Millie ten years ago, I developed a hernia. These can cause problems for pregnant women in varying degrees. Basically it causes aching, a dragging sensation, stinging and can be agony when you are on your feet for any period of time.
“With Millie, it was there and it was achy but it was manageable. However, when I became pregnant with Evie the weakness was already established and things became much worse.”
During the second trimester of the pregnancy, the hernia in Carrie’s abdomen got bigger and caused constant pain which restricted her movements.
“Very quickly, I was so debilitated I couldn’t even stand to make a cup of tea,” she said. “I couldn’t go shopping or do anything without holding my abdomen to relieve the pressure. The only relief was to sit down all of the time.
“I ended up going to the hospital and was told that I would need surgery once the baby was born and I just had to put up with it. They wouldn’t do anything during the pregnancy because of the risk to the baby.”
Various aids exist in the UK to help women with pelvic hernia or back pain during pregnancy but, for Carrie, they didn’t work.
“I looked and tried the belts on the market and found they were expensive, ugly, huge bands which were uncomfortable, unsightly and they didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t have been able to wear them with leggings or nice clothes.”
Carrie tried several do-it-yourself attempts to support the hernia, including wrapping a coat belt around her abdomen so she could go out. Nothing worked for any length of time.
“Eventually, I gave up and did some research online to try to find something more suitable.”
That research led her to contact an American mum, Caroline Christensen, who also suffered hernia problems during pregnancy. Like Carrie, she couldn’t find any product on the market which worked, so she designed her own.
Carrie said: “She told me she’d love to sell in the UK but didn’t have any idea how to do it and the cost of buying a single item and having it delivered here pushed up the cost.
“I was so desperate to get something which worked but there was always the risk that it would be a waste of money.”
Carrie took a chance and received the product known as the Baby Belly Band. She also told her family about it.
“Within minutes of putting it on, I felt like a different person. I felt secure, it’s flexible and I knew it couldn’t hurt the baby as it’s soft and stretchy. Overnight my life was transformed,” she said. “I could wear nice clothes without worrying that everyone could see I was wearing a hernia aid. This simple invention gave me such freedom.”
Mother-in-law Bev said: “I decided to look into the product and do some research. “To see the transformation in Carrie, who was finding it difficult to stand or walk, made me realise that we had to do something to get this out to other women affected by hernias.
“Women with these problems can face months of discomfort and stress which is not healthy for them or their babies.”
Bruce said: “I’ve been self- employed for 20 years and am a specialist in helping companies sell their products internationally. This is my area of expertise. Carrie knew I did something to do with distribution and mentioned the belly band to me. “I just couldn’t believe that one day she couldn’t even make herself a cup of tea and the next day she was able to go shopping in Bristol.”
Bev and Bruce have just become the UK and European distributor of the Baby Belly Band, officially going live in December. They’ve already recruited a distributor who is selling the product in Norway and Scandanavia and are looking to recruit distributors throughout Europe.
The Baby Belly Band will soon be available to order through an internet auction site. In the meantime it can be bought direct from Tricorn4 International Ltd at www.babybellyband.tel